2Afrika/Wild Dogs/Shark Diving

Oct 3rd, 2006, 09:41 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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2Afrika/Wild Dogs/Shark Diving

Planning a trip to Botswana/South Africa in September '07 and wondering where do we have the best chances of seeing wild dogs. Looking at a couple of 2Afrika itineraries:
1. 6 nights in Chobe Safari Lodge
2. 3 nights Chobe Safari Lodge and 3 nights Pom Pom Safari Camp
3. 2 nights Chobe Safari Lodge and 2 nights Kwando Kwara Camp and 2 nights Kwando Lebala camp.
Chobe seems to be a little "heavy" on elephants (pardon the pun) and I love elephants but my husband was really interested in the wild dogs since we didn't see any in Kenya when we went in '99. Are there a lot of big cats in this area? As well, any recent experiences with Afrika? Their prices seem almost too good to be true. Lastly, wanted to do the cage diving with sharks. I've heard of some where you don't have to be a certified scuba diver, they use snorkels. Any thoughts, experiences or recommendations with shark diving appreciated. I'm assuming these are mostly done out of Cape Town?
loru100 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 10:13 AM
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The Chobe riverfront, where those lodges are located, are excellent for elephants, but you would be lucky to see wild dog in that area -- that being said, I did see one wild dog along the riverfront when I visited Chobe in August 2001. I also saw several lion. Chobe has a large number of animals, and while its an excellent park, I wouldn't list the riverfront as one of my favorite areas for predators.

I have twice gone cage diving, and always used a snorkel. The cage does not totally submerge, but rather floats while fastened to the boat. My last trip was with White Shark Ecoventures, and they were uniformly excellent. They provide (or at least they did in 2003) roundtrip transport from Cape Town, and it was built into the price.
thit_cho is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 12:55 PM
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Itinerary #3 is your best chance of those choices to see dogs. Both Kwara and Lebala have a fair number of wild dog sightings but with 4 nights between them you will still need some good luck.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 03:58 PM
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I'd go with #3 from what you listed. But it is hard to predict where the wild dogs will be.

When I planned an itinerary with wild dogs as a hopeful sighting I included these 3 camps: Chitabe, Duma Tau in Linyanti, Zibalianja in Selinda. There were other non-dog camps as well and the itinerary was spaced over 2 trips.

I've known a couple of people to see dogs in Chobe.

Good luck.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:40 PM
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I know Chobe has big elephant herds, but about Wild dogs, i dont know how good the sightings are....

If i were you i would look at itinerary 3 with some changes. For Wild dogs, i would do some combination of Kwando Lebala and Lagoon and Zibalianja. This is a much better option for wild dogs. Lagoon has a wild dog pack that comes in and out of the area every few days.

At Lebala and Zib, you have a fair chance of seeing the Selinda pack of dogs (a large pack). Kwara has a smallish wild dog pack also. Me personally, dont like to do short stays of 2 nights anywhere.....so with 6 or 7 nights, i would try to maximize my game viewing with a long stay....

My trip report from last month from the Kwando camps, can be read here on fodors. The thread is called, "Back home from Kwando (Hari)"...good luck on your planning.....

Oct 4th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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Agree with PB.
Option three will offer the best chances of seeing dogs. It will also offer the chance to drive off road and at night at the Kwando camps.

CSL is great vlaue, the Chobe is a teriffic destination and I am particularly fond of the game viewing from the river. Yes you will see plenty ele's.

Great White Shark Tours out of Gansbaai is my preferred outfitter. None of the companies require dive certification, in fact the whole experience is quite tame, but thrilling. Anyone who can slip into a wetsuit can dive, you do not even need to know how to use a snorkel.

mkhonzo is offline  
Oct 6th, 2006, 12:12 PM
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I agree with Mkhonzo and the others - Option 3 will give you the best chance of seeing wild dogs. However, 2 nights per lodge really isn't enough -- I'd recommend a minimum of 3, particularly if you want to see the dogs. They roam very widely and will sometimes not be seen for days at a time, so a longer stay will boost your chances of seeing them.

If you can travel a bit earlier (July or August) your chances of seeing them will go up even more because they will most likely still be denning and will be much easier to locate. And you'll also have the opportunity to see the pups when they are emerging from the den.

jasher is offline  
Oct 6th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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Chiming in on just the shark diving part...

I'm in the investigation stages as well.

I like the Great White Shark Tours out of Gansbaai and Apex Predators with the Fallows from Simonstown.

Here is what draws me to Apex:

They go to Seal Island where there aren't a bunch of other boats. They take about 6 people, the smallest group.
There is a chance to see a lot of predatory behavior and breaching sharks. They leave from Simonstown and I want to stay where I can come back from the sharks and visit the penguins. Their dock is 15-20 minutes away from the Boulders penguins and Boulders Lodge, where I'd like to stay.

I think you might have to be scuba certified to dive with Apex. Not sure because I plan to watch from deck. I understand you can see more. That's what I want to do is see more. If going in the cage allows you to see more, then I'd probably do that. Thit Cho, where did you have the best views?

I wonder if Apex's success rate of seeing sharks is as good as the others who go in "shark alley." Their info indicates it is. 90-95% in high season.

I was actually thinking of doing a couple of trips with Apex and a couple with Great White.

Does anyone know the distance between Simonstown and Gansbaai?

Other shark suggestions and insights are appreciated too.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 6th, 2006, 12:53 PM
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This website was helpful

atravelynn is offline  
Oct 6th, 2006, 12:56 PM
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My best views, by far, were while I was on the boat. While it was interesting to be in the water, I didn't take any photographs, and the sharks I saw were very murky. But, still, it was thrilling to be in the cage.
thit_cho is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 04:19 AM
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Drive time from Simonstown to Gansbaai is around 90 minutes, perhps two hours.

My son took picture under water with a disposable camera, while the vvis was only 3 metres the phots were actually quite remarkable. I found the experience of being submereged fascinating and have to say that being out for about five hours that I had plenty chances to dive and deck view.

Your planning to ggo with APEX for the motives you offer is a no brainer sounds like the right operator for you. You did not mention time of year that you plan to travel, but shark alley is at its most productive around August. I dived in early jan seeing about seven sharks and was told by the vrew that that was a great day for the time of year. I do not know the frequency of sightings off seal island, but having grown up there do know that there are plenty great whites in the area.
mkhonzo is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Thanks for the comments on going in the cage. I'd be in Cape Town in mid to late July of 2008.
atravelynn is offline  

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